Apprenticeships lead the Future of Work!

2023 to emerge as the year of Apprenticeships

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There is a growing mandate for skilled personnel across industries. The digital transformation across non-tech industries accelerated by the pandemic has led to a substantial increase in demand for proficiency in new-age skills. Emerging technologies such as AI, ML, robotics, and other digital innovations are reshaping the world of work. Research conducted by Amazon Web Services found that over 90% of employees cannot apply digital technologies in their work routine. Apprenticeships and degree apprenticeship programs can help mitigate this huge skill deficit and may well emerge as the golden ticket to organizational success.

New-age tech skills are no longer confined to the tech sector but have gained widespread usability across industries such as healthcare, banking, retail, etc. The Future of Work, education, and skills enterprise survey indicates that nearly twice as many companies have had to increase their workforce due to the introduction of new technology. As businesses introduce new technologies, the workforce will need to acquire the necessary skills and know-how to use them effectively. The World Economic Forum indicates that more than 54% of India’s workforce will need reskilling. The intent to upskill has already touched a record high with 79% of professionals, including freshers seeking to upskill and reskill themselves in 2023, due to the rise of Web 3.0 and the metaverse.

Evaluating the RoI of Apprenticeship Programs 

Advanced economies such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are reaping the benefits of apprenticeship programs in the form of low unemployment numbers along with lower people supply chain costs, lower attrition, and higher productivity. These countries offer valuable policy lessons in the expansion of vocational training through apprenticeships to deliver the following results:

  1. Increase the chances of employment for students who choose not to pursue a university degree.
  2. Provide the private sector with a competitive labor force that is motivated and willing to learn and acquire new skills.
  3. Apprenticeships are a win-win for both the employer as well as the apprentice. Hired at a small fraction of the cost the employer gains in productivity while the apprenticeship benefits in terms of skill development, experience, and remuneration.
  4. Surveys indicate that apprentices exhibit higher productivity ratios than regular workers and can thus add to the potential talent pool of a company.
  5. There is immense government support to promote apprenticeships within the country.

CHROs must rely on apprenticeships as a part of their talent development strategy to resolve the trifecta of problems at the workplace: talent crunch, high attrition, and burgeoning people supply chain costs.

Degree Apprenticeship and WBL Programs – Key to Addressing Skill-gaps

The time is ripe for employers to leverage the strategic advantages of work-based learning (WBL) programs to resolve most of the job-market issues. Employers can create a linkage between higher education institutions and apprenticeships to meet their employment needs in the short and long term.  A partnership between academia and industry can work towards creating a curriculum that caters to the needs of the industry. It can lead to the identification and cultivation of targeted business-specific skills which can meet the talent needs of organizations in the long run. Degree apprenticeship or apprenticeship-linked education is the best way to enable employability and solve the unemployment-related issues faced by our youth. As per ILO, the Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in India stands at 52% compared to 73% in the US, 76% in China, and 78% in the UK. Even if India increases its LFPR by one percent every year it will create around 95 mn non-agricultural jobs over the next 25 years to achieve a LFPR of 70%. A degree apprenticeship is a highly effective program that aligns with the skill development and employment goals of the country while at the same time equipping students with knowledge, skills, and work experience.

Conclusion

Employment or work is strongly related to an individual’s quality of life and well-being which in turn impacts the economic growth and prosperity of a nation. In addition to securing pay and benefits, creating quality jobs requires careful attention to education and skill development. Education and skills are the distinguishing factors that can help individuals and nations achieve phenomenal growth. As a nation, we are cognizant of the need to position and prepare India as the ‘skill capital of the world’. Apprenticeships, WBL programs, and degree-based apprenticeships are our golden ticket to achieving this goal.